7) Buttermilk Panna Cotta w/ Cherry Blossom, Coi
Yes, Coi pops up on this list for the second time. Although I wanted to get a good mix of restaurants represented in my top 10, I just couldn’t avoid including this dish – it was just too damn incredible. The dish, which I was lucky enough to get on my first visit to this restaurant, will forever remain in my memory: buttermilk Panna Cotta accompanied by cherry blossoms and topped with budding shoots of wild fennel. First and foremost, the flavor was overwhelming – the buttermilk (a special culture acquired through their in-house butter-making process), infused with cured cherry blossoms, along with the hints of pickled and wild fennel was a perfect balance of delicate freshness and creamy richness. And, the aromatic qualities the cherry blossom twig, left on the plate purely to smell, transformed the flavor into something truly unique and created a dish that really represents Daniel Patterson as a chef. It was the culinary incarnation of early spring. To read more about the other dishes from that night, check out my full account of Coi.